The Government is now discussing the future after the coronavirus lockdown is over. Hopefully it can use this opportunity to build back a better world, instead of a world with a few people getting very rich and most of us “just about managing”. This is an opportunity to create a world in which the fruits of our prosperity are shared more equally. It is also an opportunity to create a more environmentally friendly world so that we can tackle and perhaps undo some of the damage caused by our careless use of the world’s resources.
The first environmental danger is the climate crisis. Climate change will cause untold consequences due to rising sea levels, extreme weather events and more. To avoid this danger we need to end our dependence on burning fossil fuels which produce the greenhouse gases which cause the crisis through global warming. In 2015 in Paris, 195 countries of the world agreed to reduce their emissions so as to keep global warming below the danger level. Progress towards this goal has been sluggish. Now is the time to up the game before it is too late.
The second environmental danger is loss of biodiversity. There has been a catastrophic decline in the insect population over recent years. Most of the food we eat depends on plants, either directly or indirectly. Without the pollinating insects the plants will be unable to reproduce, jeopardising one of our main food sources. To avoid it we need better land management to provide the habitats that insects and wild life need.
The third environmental danger involves the oceans from overfishing and from the waste products we produce. Much of the waste ends up in the oceans, interfering with the food sources and reproductive rates of ocean creatures. This jeopardises another of our food sources. To avoid this danger we need to reduce, reuse and recycle our waste. In addition, quotas should be set which makes fishing sustainable. By this we mean to leave as much fish for future generations as we have inherited.
To quote the broadcaster David Attenborough, the consequences of not acting to counter these dangers could signal the end of the civilised world we know. People, in response to the pandemic crisis, have come together to help and care for each other. This shows that there are greater values in life than making money which has created a divided society with growing inequality.
In addition, it endangers its own future by ruining its environment. But this will require a very different world economic structure concentrating on Governments using money wisely rather than on individuals making money. The environmental crises are just as much crises as the pandemic crisis. They are just taking place at a slower rate, like the pandemic crisis but in slow motion. We urge governments of the world to “build back better” after the pandemic crisis. People worried about these problems should write to their MPS.
on behalf of Sustainable Keswick